Thursday, February 11, 2010

Craig Ferguson and Royal Enfield

News of Royal Enfield motorcycles always interests me. It's even more interesting to encounter news about Royal Enfield motorcycles of the past.

Just such a news tip came recently from my friend, screenwriter and wit Douglas Kalajian. It concerns someone you've no doubt heard of: Craig Ferguson.

Doug explains:

"Craig Ferguson is a comedian and actor who hosts a late-night talk show on CBS. He is quite popular, particularly with young people — so I assume you've never heard of him.

"Mr. Ferguson, a Scott by birth, has written an autobiography, American On Purpose, The Improbable Adventures Of An Unlikely Patriot. In it, he writes that his father, Bob, was a handsome man who would have been more so if he'd had teeth. The story his father told was that he lost them when he crashed his 1945 Enfield motorcycle at 80 miles per hour.

"Ferguson writes that he did not believe the story because no 1945 Enfield could ever approach 80 miles per hour. And if it did, his father would have been toast.

"I know this because I bought the book for (my wife) Robyn, who finds Mr. Ferguson amusing, although she can't stay awake to watch his show."

Doug was kind enough to quote from the book. Ferguson writes that, while he didn't believe his father's story of The Great Teeth Incident, "I also believed that he rode a motorcycle, and he rode it fast. After all, he was a telegram delivery boy in Glasgow in the early fifties, round about the time Marlon Brando starred in The Wild One as a troubled and brooding motorcycle gang member.

"The telegram boys of Glasgow didn't ride Harleys, they rode Enfields and Nortons. Big, British army bikes. They couldn't afford leathers and silk scarves like their matinee idols, so they wore black post office-issue uniforms, wrapping white linen tea towels round their necks to look like American bikers. Bob looked like Sinatra and dressed like Brando. Bob was cool."

I shall have to set my alarm clock to wake me up for Ferguson's show. Just for a taste, here's his monologue comparing horses to motorcycles:

For more humor from my friend Douglas Kalajian, check out his cooking advice at The Armenian Kitchen.

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